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5 Ways To Recognize Spotlight Stress

Written by: Cathy Spaas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You know those times when you’re thriving, and everything seems to work out for you? You’re on a constant high, feeling on top of the world and thinking this looks too good to be true.

outdoor shot of a woman looking away from the camera

Other times the opposite happens. You feel stuck in a downward spiral. You got overwhelmed, the pressure kept increasing, and it seemed like life was happening to you. You’re simply a passenger forced on the ride with no way out. I feel you.

There are a few red flags to consider while rushing from one appointment to the other:

1. Overthinking

Once you’re on the treadmill of overthinking, moving away from worrying thoughts becomes more challenging. Our brain is programmed to filter out what we pay attention to, so every little thing in your environment will remind you of these worries.

Do you remember the last time you were looking to buy a car?

You had your eye on the model of a specific brand, maybe even in a particular color. Can you bring to mind how you suddenly saw that car in the exact color everywhere, while you rarely noticed it before? The same applies to pregnant women. You’re thinking about babies, and ‘BOOM,’ now you see them everywhere!

2. Empaths

Filtering out information allows the brain to cope with all the stimuli and input it processes during the day. Especially artists and performers – often highly sensitive people (HSP) with a stronger activated right hemisphere of the brain process information more deeply, which means overthinking and taking on the emotions of others reaches a whole new level.

We owe our genius to being HSP because it makes you connect stronger with your audience, increases your empathy, and helps you see and feel things others don’t even notice. The downside is it can also consume you when you can’t feel what’s theirs and what is yours anymore.

3. Misfit

It’s also why you sometimes need clarification or take things reasonably personally.

Do you ever feel like an outsider in your own environment? Like everyone else is easier than you or has things figured out, and you still don’t know how to cope with finding your place in certain groups.

4. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is exceptionally high for HSP because we are built to please others, so we’ll give our everything to make others happy about our work. Neglecting our own needs and desires at times… This can make you lose connection with flow or inspiration while feeling rigid or stressed.

5. High pressure

All these characteristics are challenging enough for anyone, but being part of the highly demanding entertainment industry, which never sleeps, judges everything, and has ever-increasing pressure puts extra pressure on your brain. Ever feel so overwhelmed by your to-do list that you seem to freeze?

With your life under a magnifying glass, your every move is being analyzed. Your entire being is constantly scrutinized for ‘matching a certain image.’ It’s fucking tiring, and some of these aspects combined can lead to ‘Spotlight Stress.’

It’s a privilege to introduce you to my world, where I’ve interviewed professional artists, performers, and high achievers on Spotlight Stress to share their struggles, growth journey, and success strategies with you. Do you feel the desire for further exploration? You can book an exclusive inspiration session here (due to limited spots, this is after selection for approval).

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube, or visit my website for more info!


Cathy Spaas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Cathy Spaas is a world-class expert and speaker, who advocates the superpowers that come along with being an HSP (highly sensitive person). She started competing with horses at a young age, and due to over-demand and high pressure, she wasn’t able to perform for a long time. Cathy developed her ‘Claim-your-Shine’-modality to shift from suffering and surviving to thriving. She created the term ‘Spotlight Stress’, and has been guiding artists and performers to their inner sparkle ever since.



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